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Psoriasis and Eczema: Differences and Treatments

Dry and itchy skin is a lot more common than you may think. There can be several causes for such a skin ailment, sometimes they are issues that go away by itself and others may need extensive treatment. However, knowing the symptoms and differences between psoriasis and eczema can rule out possible guesses and confusion. Visiting a dermatologist in Palo Alto will be able to diagnose a patient, but in between skin treatment, there are preventative measures and knowledge that can be useful to a Walnut Creek client.

Both eczema and psoriasis are considered to be chronic skin disorders that both have similar features. They are both red, dry, flakey skin rashes. Regardless of the symptoms being similar, the causes are different which means that the way they are treated will be different as well. Because their traits are so similar it can be difficult to know which one a patient has and which treatment would work best. Knowing the differences, and slight differences in symptoms will give you a better understanding of both psoriasis and eczema.

Fundamental Differences

As mentioned earlier, knowing the difference between the two will better help you understand why your Roseville skin doctor chooses one method of treatment over the other. Before getting into different ways to cure these skin ailments, let’s take a look at how psoriasis and eczema differ.


Psoriasis is known to be a chronic immune disease. But what does this mean? Essentially, that means a patient with this skin condition possesses an immune system dysfunction that is constantly activated, resulting in skin changes. The immune system attacks healthy cells resulting in this condition that causes raised, irritated, and scaly patches on the skin. They can be found in any part of the body, including the scalp, however, the most common areas are elbows and knees.

Individuals with psoriasis may experience breakouts and flare-ups that are extreme one week, and the week next it may calm down. Because it is an immune dysfunction, the persistence of it will vary. The cause of psoriasis due to the patient’s immune system may be unknown but triggers can be identified. Sometimes sunburns, scrapes, and stress can be enough to prompt a flare-up. These are just a few triggers that can spark psoriasis. A San Francisco based dermatologist will be able to advise a psoriasis patient on potential triggers that can be dependant on lifestyle habits.


Similar to psoriasis, eczema is also an inflammation to the skin and can also have several triggers. Instead of this skin condition being a result of a dysfunctional immune system, it is caused by allergies. It is best to think of eczema as an external allergic reaction, rather than internal, such as runny eyes and sneezing. Eczema mostly occurs in people who have a history of this condition in their family. If they do not have the skin condition, history of asthma, hay fever or other allergies, may pass down to others in the form of eczema.

Triggers of eczema can come from various sources, these include food and environmental stimulants. Nuts, seeds, eggs, dairy, soy, and wheat are just a few examples of food allergies that can cause eczema. The environment can be airborne particles from pollen, mold, pet hair, cigarette smoke, and dust. Your Palo Alto skin doctor will be better at finding the exact trigger based on an allergy test. Just like psoriasis, eczema can also be triggered by stress if you are prone to getting this skin ailment. It can also develop at any time in your life.


It’s important to remember that psoriasis and eczema are not contagious and cannot be passed from person to person. However, if it runs in the family, it can be transmittable through genetics. In addition, the symptoms are in some ways different but relatively the same. For precautionary measures, it is best to look out for these consistent symptoms and then make an appointment with a skin doctor in Roseville to better hone in the type of skin condition you have and what treatment will work.

Visually speaking, it can be difficult to know if it is psoriasis or eczema. Common signs for both are dry, cracked, itchy patches of skin. However, those with psoriasis, the patches on the skin will be thicker in flaky scales, but sometimes it still may be difficult to catch to the naked eye. One distinct feature of eczema is fluid, or wetness may persist in the dry patches, this is known as serous exudate. For proper skin treatment by a dermatologist in Walnut Creek, a biopsy will be able to disclose which condition it is. 

Different Types

Unfortunately, psoriasis and eczema are not just two similar but different skin ailments, but there are different types for each condition. Visiting a San Francisco dermatologist can pinpoint the type of psoriasis or eczema a patient has, but knowing that there is even a subcategory of them will help patients better understand their skin.

For psoriasis, there are several different types, but the most common is known as plaque psoriasis. This is thick and scaly patches on the skin that is red and sometimes even a silvery-white color. It looks this way on account of built-up dead skin cells.

Atopic dermatitis is a type of eczema that is associated with asthma and it is common to see the signs in childhood. Flare-ups are caused by internal or external allergies. Lastly, contact dermatitis is one of the most common types of eczema. This is when an allergen or substance touched the skin and irritates it, creating flaky, itchy skin. For this type, cortisone creams can reduce the symptoms, however, there are alternative treatments you can discuss with your Roseville skin doctor.

Disclaimer: We are unable to guarantee any result, even though most of our patients do see success. The results of our services will vary greatly to each patient’s level of commitment and compliance with the program.

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